What is Uninsured Motorist Insurance?

In the realm of car insurance, there's a critical component that often goes overlooked by many drivers: Uninsured Motorist coverage (UM). This coverage can help provide financial defense against the unpredictable reality of encountering an uninsured or underinsured driver during a car accident. The importance of UM coverage cannot be overstated. This article aims to demystify UM coverage, breaking down its essentials and illustrating its importance.

Understanding Uninsured Motorist Coverage

UM coverage is designed to help protect you, the insured driver, from the financial repercussions of auto accidents caused by drivers who lack adequate insurance. UM can include two primary components: Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury coverage (UMBI) and Uninsured Motorist Physical Damage (UMPD), but not all states offer both coverages.

Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage (UMBI)

UMBI helps cover your medical expenses following an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. Be advised that UM and UIM are two separate coverages. In many states, insurance agents or brokers are required to offer you this coverage, which provides an important layer of financial protection. Notably, your auto insurance company may offer to match the UMBI coverage limits to your Bodily Injury (BI) liability coverage limits.


Uninsured Motorist Physical Damage coverage (UMPD)

UMPD is your vehicle’s protection, which helps cover repairs needed due to the negligence of an uninsured driver. This coverage comes with a deductible. This coverage may help your peace of mind when dealing with burdensome repairs when the at-fault party lacks sufficient coverage.

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A Scenario of How Uninsured Motorist Coverage Works

To grasp the tangible benefits of UM coverage, consider the following scenario: You're on your routine drive home from work when suddenly, your car is rear-ended. The collision not only causes significant damage to your vehicle but also causes personal injuries requiring hospital transport. Upon investigation, it's revealed that the at-fault driver has no insurance.

In this distressing situation, having UM coverage may alter the aftermath. With it, you can file a claim with your insurance carrier, and you may receive help paying your medical bills up to the limits of coverage. Without UM coverage, you may have more out of pocket expenses.

Securing your safety net

Given the significance of UM coverage, it is recommended that it become a priority for all drivers. When discussing your auto insurance options with your agent/broker, be sure that UM coverage is part of the conversation. Understand the terms, including the coverage limits of UMBI and UMPD, and how they align with your existing policy limits and budget. Remember, the cost of adding UM coverage can be less than the potential financial impact of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.

In an ideal world, every driver on the road would carry sufficient auto insurance coverage. However, the reality is far from this ideal, necessitating protective measures like Uninsured Motorist coverage. By opting for UM, you are helping to protect not just your financial stability, but also your peace of mind, during a covered unpredictable event like an accident with an uninsured driver. As you navigate auto insurance, let the inclusion of UM coverage be a non-negotiable part of your policy. There are other factors to this coverage that may be extended to you as the insured. Your insurance agent or broker can answer those questions.

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Q: Does uninsured motorist insurance cover hit-and-run accidents?

A: If your vehicle doesn’t carry collision coverage, then you may want to purchase UMPD for the damage to your car. Some states require every driver to carry UMPD. A deductible may apply. However, not every state will consider a hit-and-run accident an uninsured driver incident, so make sure to contact your agent/broker for information on your state’s laws and that of your policy’s requirements.

Q: How do I make an uninsured motorist claim?

A: You simply call your insurance carrier to report the claim.

Q: Which states require Uninsured Motorist coverage?

A: At least twenty states and the District of Columbia require UM coverage, including the jurisdictions listed below. Beware that laws frequently change.

  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

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